Slayer’s Kerry King: If I’m not doing my job, don’t pay me

Slayer's Kerry King
Slayer's Kerry King (Image credit: Getty)

Slayer guitarist Kerry King says he doesn’t expect to be paid if he doesn’t do his job properly.

Asked about the success of the band’s 12th album Repentless which came out in 2015, King says it was down to the band’s hard graft in the studio – and creating a piece of work that resonated with their fan base.

He tells Cleveland Scene: “I’m proud that people came out and supported this record the way they did. It was worldwide No. 2, which is unheard of for a band like us – and it’s unheard of for a band with a deceased guitar player and a carousel for drummers.

“The fans supported it, and we made a record they wanted us to make. The planets have aligned. That’s on us. I just feel that if I’m not doing my job, and I don’t bring it, don’t pay me.”

Reflecting on recording their first album without founding member Jeff Hanneman, who died in 2013, King admits he wasn’t sure if the fans were ready for someone else taking over songwriting duties.

King continues: “With one dude writing 90% of it, it’s easy for the songs to all sound the same. I wanted to avoid that, though I wanted it to still sound like Slayer. I wanted to come together as a good album.

“Recording with Gary Holt, it wasn’t a lot different. He contributed some leads so when we would play live, he could contribute something. Slayer has always been a two-guitar band so that’s always in my mind. As far as writing the music goes, maybe I overthought it, but I thought Slayer fans might not be ready for a new Slayer writer.

“We used one of Jeff’s leftover songs. I think the lyrics are pretty typical – I always try to keep it really street. If we do demonic songs, of course, that’s just fictional thoughts I made up in my head. The political ones like Take Control, I write in such a generic form that anyone can get something out of it.”

Slayer will head out on a North American tour next month with Anthrax and Death Angel. And in the same interview, Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian says it’s a road trip that he’s looking forward to.

Ian adds: “You enjoy their company, which makes being on the road that much easier. I think the team-up is great for the audience. We’re two bands that people have heard of for a long time.

“If you’re into metal, there’s not a better show out there than Anthrax and Slayer back-to-back. We compliment each other really well. It’s just a great experience from a fan point of view.”

The run of dates is scheduled to kick off at Cleveland’s Jacob’s Pavilion on September 9.

Slayer/Anthrax/Death Angel North American tour 2016

Sep 09: Cleveland Jacob’s Pavilion, OH
Sep 10: Detroit Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, MI
Sep 12: Toronto Sound Academy, ON
Sep 13: Montreal Metropolis, QC
Sep 15: Pittsburgh Stage AE, PA
Sep 20: Indianapolis Egyptian Room, IN
Sep 22: St Louis The Pageant, MO
Sep 27: Orlando Hard Rock Live, FL
Sep 28: Miami Fillmore, FL
Sep 30: Tunica Horseshoe Casino, MS
Oct 03: Norfolk Norva, VA
Oct 05: Atlanta Tabernacle, GA
Oct 07: Dallas Gas Monkey Live, TX
Oct 08: Austin ACL At The Moody Theatre, TX
Oct 10: Denver Fillmore, CO
Oct 11: Salt Lake City The Complex, UT
Oct 13: Missoula The Wilma Theatre, MT
Oct 17: Lethbridge Enmax Center, AB
Oct 19: Penticton South Okanagan Events Centre, BC
Oct 20: Abbotsford Centre, BC
Oct 23: Reno Events Center, NV
Oct 27: El Paso County Coliseum, TX

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Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.